Coffee-power car record is broken

Coffee Car - Martin adds kindling to get the fire going
Coffee Car - Martin adds kindling to get the fire going

A GOLDEN blend of speed and coffee could have helped drive an unusual car into the record books at Elvington.

The car-puccino successfully set a land speed record at the airfield for a vehicle powered by burning waste, reaching a pedal-to-the-metal milestone of 66mph.

Dried pellets of coffee grounds powered the old Rover, driven by Martin Bacon, who runs Teesdale Conservation Volunteers in Durham.

The record has yet to be confirmed by Guinness World Records.

The coffee-powered car uses a process called gasification, which Mr Bacon, from County Durham, said was used in World War II because of the lack of fuel.

He said he needed an old car because the process needs a carburettor.

“The trouble with a lot of modern cars is that they’ve got far too many sensors on, they’re all fuel-injection,” he said.

Speaking about the record, in which he had to successfully compete two runs to have any chance of it being authenticated by Guinness, he said: “I’m over the moon, obviously it’s fraught with problems running a car on coffee so it’s not the easiest thing in the world by any imagination.

“We’ve had some serious problems with this car, it was cheap second hand.”

Nicknamed ‘The Expresso’, the 1974 Rover was bought for just £250. They conducted a test run at Elvington last month but wet weather put a dampener on their attempts to reach the required record speed.

Last year he drove a coffee-powered 1988 VW Scirroco from London to Birmingham, breaking the record for the longest journey.

The used coffee granules are made into pellets which are then burned and a flammable gas drawn off.

The car uses this gas as it is produced, although Mr Bacon said the exhaust smells “like a house fire” rather than coffee.

He said the record attempt was partly “a bit of fun” but also intended to make a serious point that waste can produce energy.

The car will now be used as an educational tool and taken around schools.